Rush Imhotep, Financial Advisor at Northwestern Mutual
Rush graduated Cum Laude from Cornell University, with a Bachelors of Arts in Africana Studies and Business Management.
At Cornell, Rush was a two time Captain of their football team, and an inductee to the 4.0 Breakfast Club. In 2014, He also earned the National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete Award in addition to the Jack Murphy “Big Play” Man of the Year Award. Outside of athletics he was a prominent member of Cornell’s Multi-Cultural Concert Funding Advisory Board, while also finding time to host a show on Cornell Radio.
Prior to joining Northwestern, Rush was initially an intern with the company, and after a brief stint of playing Arena Football, also spent time with Community Capital Funding Group, helping small business owners secure debt and equity financing.
Currently Rush has been a Million Dollar Round Table qualifier, and was recently highlighted at Atlanta’s A3C Festival and Conference as a speaker for their panel on “Start Ups and Wealth Management.”
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- Investing during a recession
- General financial knowledge/information
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:03] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio, brought to you by on pay. Built in Atlanta, on pay is the top rated payroll and HR software anywhere. Get one month free at unpaid. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:31] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Atlanta Business Radio. And this is going to be a good one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor on pay. Without them, we couldn’t be sharing these important stories today on Atlanta Business Radio. We have Rush Imhotep with Northwestern Mutual. Welcome, Rush.
Rush Imhotep: [00:00:51] How are you doing? Lee Thanks for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:53] I am doing well. For those who aren’t familiar. Can you tell us a little bit about Northwestern Mutual and your work?
Rush Imhotep: [00:01:00] Yeah, for sure. So Northwestern is probably one of the oldest insurance companies in the country. And in about the mid 1907, 1950s, they got in to wealth management. So, you know, we are a one stop shop when it comes to financial services. You know, we do investments, we do insurance, we do financial planning for our clients. We help them think through retirement planning, estate planning, taxes. Really any consideration as it relates to you making, preserving, growing, etc., your money? Those are all areas where we’re able to help our clients be fortuitous.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:39] Now, what’s your back story? How’d you get involved in this line of work?
Rush Imhotep: [00:01:43] Yeah. So originally I’m actually from Brooklyn. I grew up in Brooklyn, played football growing up, and I was able to secure an opportunity to play football at Cornell University. And it was while I was at Cornell, a big donor on our football team. His name is Matt Russo. We got connected and he’s actually the managing partner of Northwestern’s New York office. And I interned for Matt one summer. I had a great experience. They actually offered me a job. I said, No, Matt, I’m going to go play in the NFL. I went and try to play in the NFL, but realized that, you know, not many teams are drafting four seven safeties from the Ivy League and that’s for 740. My speed, not my height and like six to have that in there just for no confusion. But I had to figure out what I wanted to do next. And and to that point in my life, I was only really good at two things. I was good at football because I’ve been doing that for so long and I was good at finances, right? I was good at connecting with people. I was good at making information more digestible, understanding businesses and things like that. And it just made sense for this next phase of my life or what I wanted to transition to post my short lived professional career.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:05] Well, how has being an athlete at the level you were at, which is pretty high, how has that impacted your kind of work life?
Rush Imhotep: [00:03:16] I mean, it’s impacted my life in general. I mean, it’s one it builds up this massive resiliency that I think a lot of people get the opportunity to do, because a lot of people don’t put themselves in a position where they can experience large amounts of failure. And in being a athlete, you know, not only do you fail on game day at times, but you can fail in other portions of your life or your career. So I think that’s probably one of the biggest things is just helping me build up that resiliency. And then secondly, some of the intangible traits that are developed around work ethic discipline and these are probably. You know. Well understood by this point. But, you know, team sports and just learning how to operate in that environment. Now, there are traits that directly transition to a professional environment that I’ve been able to leverage then and also like I mentioned, in my personal life.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:18] Now, what is it like when you transition from being an athlete at that level into the workforce where, like you said earlier, like you felt, hey, my superpower is football and now I’m not playing football. And it’s almost like you need a new identity and a new way to kind of see yourself.
Rush Imhotep: [00:04:37] That’s such a great way to put it. You do you do have to create a new identity because for so long your identity is playing well, for better or worse. And then that was me. And it was challenging when I initially stopped playing football. To go through that, it was really challenging. And there’s people that I know, I peers that I know that are still dealing with that struggle today. And I think that’s probably an underserved portion of the mental health community is dealing with identity crisis. But the way that I was able to overcome it was support, the same energy that I had for football and to the and to other outlets of my life and let that kind of begin to redefine me. So obviously, my professional career was one thing. I think another thing that’s developed out of that, you know, my love for martial arts, I actually grew up boxing, but now I’ve been able to reengage with different forms of martial arts that I didn’t get into prior because I was playing football and just other areas of my life that to this point had been more or less underserved because so much of my energy, time and attention was just going towards game day.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:51] Now, as you kind of are growing your practice here in Atlanta, are you focusing on a certain type of client or do you have a niche that you’re serving? Or is it kind of anybody who has wealth or wants to have wealth is a good fit?
Rush Imhotep: [00:06:10] Yeah, I mean, anybody that has money, we should definitely talk. But that’s more specifically, you know, our practice is primarily focused around working with people in tech or really anybody that receives equity based compensation. So I know a lot of guys at big tech firms, they receive these things called art issues or restricted stock units where a large portion of their income is tied to the equity of the company that they’re working for. Or alternatively, a lot of guys in the startup space, they’ll get stock options. Or if they get bought out, if they go public and things like that that create these massive liquidity events that they’ve got to figure out what to do with the money. So do a lot of work in tech and then local to Atlanta just because you know how great this community is and has been to me. I’ve also had the opportunity to connect with a number of business owners out here. So doing a lot of work in their space. And I have specialists on my team that have resources available for them for their various needs.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:10] So when you’re working with somebody that’s involved in a startup, they may not be making a lot of money today, but they could make a lot of money. A lot, a lot of money. You know, if the thing, like you said, goes public or they get bought out or something along those lines when you’re managing their wealth, is there different strategies that are effective for that person as opposed to somebody that has more traditional corporate career and they’re just grinding every month, every you know, they’re just throwing money into a. 401k.
Rush Imhotep: [00:07:42] Yeah, that’s a that’s a great question. I think one the biggest nuance is the equity portion of their compensation is different than, you know, the guy just kind of working at the I wouldn’t say regular non ified but in a more traditional role I’d be usually I mean if you’re working at like Coca-Cola or something, you’ll probably get some ass use. But especially in the tech space, so much of comp is tied to equity. So that’s probably one big nuance. And then secondly, from a pure planning perspective, especially before they come into any level of wealth, you know, with clients and really anybody trying to figure out is capital allocation or cash flow planning, where do I put my money? Right. I make this much. I expense this much with what I have left over. Where do I funnel it to a maximum of 41k, that’s 20 grand a year, but most people can save more than that. So where else should I be putting dollars that’s both tax efficient but also strategic from an investment perspective?
Lee Kantor: [00:08:45] Yeah, it’s one of those things when if you’re if you have a bunch of options and you’re betting on your company, it’s that saying of, you know, putting all your eggs in one basket. You better keep a good eye on that basket. But you better also have kind of a plan B in case that basket, you know, doesn’t work out. Because in the startup world, just because it looks like it’s doing great today doesn’t mean that it’s it’s the one that’s going to become a unicorn tomorrow.
Rush Imhotep: [00:09:17] Couldn’t agree more, Ali. And I think that’s that’s one of the biggest things that I impress upon, especially guys. I mean, really, any tech company or startup or whatever, you know, you don’t want too much of your net worth tied to something you don’t directly control. Right. If I’m working at Twitter and, you know, 60, 70% of my net worth is tied to Twitter stock, which can experience, you know, ten, 20 point Moz based on what Elon Musk says. That’s probably not the best strategy for me. So having some level of diversification, especially around things that are more or less out of your control, like broader market dynamics, just makes a ton of sense.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:00] Now, I would imagine in today’s market you’re getting a lot of calls because everybody when the when the market’s going up, everybody’s a genius. Every system, every, you know, kind of plan they had seems like it’s working. When it’s not going up, then all of a sudden everybody’s like, Hey, why are we what’s happening here? How do you kind of help people manage through a chaotic economy like we’re having now? Because I would think a lot of your role is almost as a therapist where you’ve got to just keep people kind of calm and just say, look, historically this has always worked out, so just hang in there.
Rush Imhotep: [00:10:38] Yeah, I think I mean, you hit it on the head. I think using using history as an analog is super helpful. I think one of the biggest things that market participants run into is that they think that their view of the market is the market. Right. So you have the young professional that they’ve been investing for a few years and they’re 5 to 7 years invested in their market. They feel like their experience is how the market should behave. And candidly, that’s not the case. Right. And there’s historical precedent that outlines market behavior and what it looks like when we have these economic conditions versus when we have more accommodating, accommodating economic conditions. So one of the biggest things I try to impress upon clients is that is all of these things have happened before. Right. And there are analogs that we can point to. The biggest thing that we need to manage is your behavior through this environment, because there’s a proven strategy that if we’re properly diversified and properly invested, you know, this could this could be a very fortuitous opportunity for you when you’re experiencing these types of dislocations in the market versus somebody that’s just kind of throwing it, throwing their hands up and saying, hey, I was selling everything and hopefully things get better.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:58] Yeah. And it also depends where they’re at in their kind of life because, you know, when you’re 20 or 30 or 40 and this is happening, you’re like, wow, this is good news for me. I’m here for the long haul, so I’m getting everything on sale. But if you’re 60 or 70 or 80, you’re like, What is going on here? This is my life saving. My nest egg is kind of depleting here.
Rush Imhotep: [00:12:21] Couldn’t agree more. Couldn’t agree more. And again, that just goes to strategy, just making sure you have a proper strategy in place.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:29] Yeah. And that’s why I think it’s super important to have a trusted advisor like yourself involved when it comes to finances, because you need someone that has kind of some context that it isn’t as emotional and you’re not reacting kind of in a knee jerk way because some voice of calm and reason during this time is what’s needed. You don’t want to make impulsive moves. That means you didn’t have a plan. That means you’re just reacting. And that’s where where a lot of people get hurt.
Rush Imhotep: [00:13:00] Right? No, you’re right. You’re right. I could I could not agree more. Could not agree more. I need to put you on payroll.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:06] So what? What do you need more of? How can we help you.
Rush Imhotep: [00:13:13] As far as your audience or this plan?
Lee Kantor: [00:13:15] Yeah. For our listeners right now, what could we be doing to help you in your work? I know you do a lot of talks for start ups. I know you’re are you looking for more speaking opportunities for startups? Are you looking for more opportunities to connect and serve the startup community? Do you need just more clients? What do you need? How can we help?
Rush Imhotep: [00:13:34] I mean, I’ve yet to meet the business that doesn’t need more clients. If you find it, show it to me. They probably do. They’ve done something incredibly well, I guess. Or maybe not. But it definitely need more clients always looking for opportunities to get in front of more people and share my story, my background, some of the areas where I’ve been helpful. And then I think. Um. And this is probably the best way to say it. But let me help me help you. Right. If you if you’re listening to this show and you’re a business owner or you’re in tech or you have a large portion of your content and equity and you’re trying to figure out what to do with it, don’t hesitate to reach out. Obviously, we can find ways to get my information shared. But I’d say those are some of the biggest the biggest areas where. There would be some synergistic cross currents between our worlds.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:41] What about talent? Are you looking to build out your team?
Rush Imhotep: [00:14:44] Yeah, I am. So right now I’m actually in the process of hiring a marketing director, mainly focused around helping me secure engagements like the one I’m on right now. So that’s that is something that we’re looking for. So if you have somebody that or if you are somebody that has experience with community engagement, branding, sponsorships, specifically able to specifically able to help myself and my team members get broader exposure on a more organic level, specifically in the Atlanta marketplace, specifically in the tech community. I think those would all be wins.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:28] Good stuff. And if somebody wants to connect with you and have a more substantive conversation, what’s your website?
Rush Imhotep: [00:15:34] Yeah. So it’s Rush, Imhotep and CNN.com. I believe me.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:40] Triple check. I got that in front of me. I got rush hour. You S-H, Imhotep Dot unmarked.
Rush Imhotep: [00:15:50] Yep. That is it. That’s the one.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:53] Good stuff. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Rush Imhotep: [00:15:59] I appreciate you, too, Lee. Thank you.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:01] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you all next time on Atlanta Business Radio.
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